Dan Sincavage, a Co-Founder of Tenfold and current Chief Strategy Officer shared with Healthy Lombard the following article:
Your alarm clock goes off for the nth time this morning. Snooze button abused.
You’re late for work — so you miss breakfast and grab a coffee on the way – which, of course, you spill on your suit.
Arrive at the office, sit down and start calling customers who just aren’t too enthusiastic about your company’s offer. You try your best to strike up new leads, do everything you can to keep the sale on the line, and then all of a sudden, the client decides to go to your biggest competitor instead. You keep on going, mindful of the weekly, monthly and yearly quotas that you need to meet to keep your family well-provided for.
If you’re a sales professional, chances are you’ve experienced this scenario at least once in your career. While salespeople are often expected to be lively and energetic at all times, the long hours, the growing list of responsibilities and the pressure to meet quotas can all add up and take its toll.
In fact, sales professionals are considered by some experts as highly overworked.
“As technology automates much of the function, there is simply no need for a human interface,” said Roy, a career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “Since the products are now not much more than commodities, salespeople are seeing shrinking spreads and fewer opportunities to generate rich commissions.”
More stress= less sales?
We all know that too much stress is bad. It can make us overeat, sleep too much or too little, lose focus, and if left untreated can lead to diseases like diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular illnesses.
But did you know that apart from its ill-effects on your personal health, stress also has economic consequences? An article released by the Farleigh Dickinson University shows that “workplace stress costs U.S. employers an estimated $200 billion per year in absenteeism, lower productivity, staff turnover, workers’ compensation, medical insurance and other stress-related expenses.”
In particular, skyrocketing stress levels have detrimental effects on a company’s sales force. According to The Oxford Handbook of Strategic Sales and Sales Management, sales reps who experience stress on a regular basis “tend to be less involved in their jobs, less committed to the organization, and to experience lower levels of work and life satisfaction. These salespeople do not perform as well and are more likely to leave the organization.”
In short, high-stress levels among your sales team can lead to unmet targets and decreasing sales figures, which can trigger even more stress. Before you know it, you’ll have a burned out sales force and a company on the verge of collapse. It’s a vicious cycle—and decisive steps need to be taken to stop it.
Here are some proven stress-busting techniques for salespeople:
Stress often stems from feeling out of control—you become anxious or afraid because it seems as if you cannot control the situation or its outcomes. As such, the first step to beating stress comes from recognizing that you do have control—you can control how you respond to a problem.
Stress management experts from the Mayo Clinic suggest the 4A’s approach to dealing with stress, wherein you can choose to alter, avoid, accept, or adapt to any given situation.
Alter: Sometimes changing the situation is the most promising strategy. Let’s say you are always stressed when you are going to be late for a meeting. Change the situation by setting an alarm so you will leave five or ten minutes earlier, depending on the traffic. Your stress levels will most likely decrease once you’ve had ample time to prepare for your meeting, and are confident that you’ll arrive early enough to make a good impression.
Avoid: Believe it or not, sometimes avoiding a potentially stressful situation altogether is the way to go. For example, you might have a persistent caller who repeatedly calls to ask for unreasonable discounts or complains about the company’s services despite your previous attempts to resolve the issue. Avoid the situation by learning how to say no. You might say “I understand how you feel, but I will not [or cannot] provide you with a 70% discount off your monthly subscription rates.” Take note, however, that avoiding the situation is only valid if there are no or limited repercussions to you and to the company.
Accept: There are things, like taxes, that we simply cannot alter or avoid. This is where the art of graceful acceptance needs to come in. For example, you need to accept that despite all of your efforts, there are always going to be leads that reject your offer or that there are always going to be clients who are fickle and extremely difficult to deal with. Learning to accept these as a part of your job makes it easier for you to anticipate and handle stressful situations.
Adapt: Wayne Dwyer once said, “the activity of worrying keeps you immobilized”. Learn how to adapt to the situation by looking at the bigger picture. For instance, you might be worried about a particular caller that you had difficulty handling. Stop and ask yourself, will this matter to me in a month? What about a year? If the answer is no, and as long as you try your best to improve your call-handling skills, stop worrying.
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